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ISO standards' contribution to objectives of World Maritime Day

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“To fight climate change successfully, the world needs to act as a team. ISO is proud of its teamwork with partners such as the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in developing solutions to this challenge” said ISO Secretary-General Rob Steele in connection with World Maritime Day 2009, which is organized annually on 24 September by the IMO, a partner organization to ISO in developing standards for this sector.

World Maritime Day logoThe theme of this year's World Maritime Day is Climate change: a challenge for IMO too! IMO has been entrusted by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change with pursuing ways to limit or reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases from ships.

IMO Secretary-General Efthimios E. Mitropoulos, in his World Maritime Day message, emphasizes the importance of a concerted international effort and warns: “We need to start putting 'life' ahead of ‘lifestyle’.”

ISO and IMO have a long-running and successful partnership. Commenting on this relationship, Mr. Steele said: "ISO standards benefit from multi-stakeholder input and are based on international consensus within sectors and between countries. Because of this, they provide an effective platform for linking the needs and objectives of IMO with those of industry. The International Standards resulting from this collaboration constitute an important technical and practical complement to different areas of IMO’s work.”

Mr. Steele welcomed the choice of this year’s World Maritime Day: “Climate change is one of the greatest challenges the world has to address today, and International Standards provide practical means for doing so. That is why we have chosen, together with the International Electrotechnical Commission and the International Telecommunication Union, Tackling climate change through standards as the theme of World Standards Day on 14 October 2009."

ISO’s specific contributions to the environmental performance of the maritime industry are developed by ISO technical committee ISO/TC 8, Ships and marine technology. Captain Charlie Piersall, Chair of the committee, comments: "ISO/TC 8 is currently working on numerous marine environment projects which include 'sustainable' standards for:

  • Improving the environmental performance of ships in harbour (cold ironing)
  • Ballast water management
  • Reduction of SOx emissions and NOx emissions
  • Oil spill recovery and response planning
  • Handling ship generated garbage
  • Risk assessment of anti-fouling systems
  • Energy efficiency in both design and operations for the maritime sector
  • Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from ships
  • Arctic (polar region) ship operations and environmental considerations
  • Protecting the marine ecosystem from underwater irradiated noise.

"ISO/TC 8 has developed over 250 sustainability-related standards. A good example of this contribution is the ISO 30000 series of standards for ship recycling management systems to which some recycling facilities have already obtained certification.

"This work supports and supplements the IMO Convention and regulations. Sustainability is an essential consideration in our work because standards that need frequent revision or change are unlikely to be considered or referenced by regulatory bodies."